Love Hina – For the Love of Swords!!!
Sequel to "Love Hina – Forgotten"
Fanfic by Steven Biggs
This story is an AU variation of the challenge set forth by Tsuruko where Motoko must defeat her or become an ordinary schoolgirl.
Please read "Love Hina – Forgotten" to give yourself the proper background for this tale. If you do not, some parts of this story will not make any sense.
Chapter One – Divergence of Destiny
After her initial defeat at the hands of Tsuruko, Motoko attempts to be a regular girl and tries hard to find her place in the normal world. Concerned for her struggle, Keitaro convinces her to ask Tsuruko to let her prove herself once more. They sit quietly in a room at Shinmei-ryu waiting for the woman to enter.
In a room nearby, Tsuruko and her mother, Aoyama, discuss the events of the last few days.
"Mother, do you believe it is wise to allow Motoko-san to actually take over Shinmei-ryu? Remember, she is false, just a human form that demon chose so that she may live in our world."
Aoyama sips her tea and looks at her daughter.
"What you say indeed deserves our concern. Yet consider this; she is, by all means that matter, Aoyama Motoko. The power of the Hina Sword has done more than impart memories to everyone of her youth, her training at this school, and her time at Hinata-sou over the past eighteen years. Our research has determined that Motoko-san, in fact, did spend that time among us. My feelings as well as yours for Motoko-san are real, my daughter. This spirit, you forget, had not only her own power, but also the training of this school to draw upon."
Tsuruko stares at her mother.
"Our memories of her are real, then? I thought that she only created them to hide her true form."
Aoyama nods her head.
"At first that was so. However, after her final confrontation with Keitaro-san, she used her powers to send her life-force back in time. I birthed Motoko-san from my own body. She is truly your sister and my other daughter."
"But, mother, why would she do this? I do not know if I understand."
"After meeting and living with Keitaro-san and the others from Hinata-sou, the spirit truly desired to be Motoko-san and live her life as part of this world. She used her power to ensure I became pregnant because she desired to actually give and receive the love that was, before, only a false memory. She is as truly my daughter as you, and I love you both dearly."
A tear falls down Tsuruko's cheek as she smiles.
"Motoko-chan is truly my sister? All of my memories of her are real? This is a wondrous revelation!"
"Then, you shall grant her request to prove herself once more?"
Tsuruko rises and moves towards the door.
"Of course! She is my dear sister, after all!"
A few minutes later, Motoko and Keitaro sit in the room and face Tsuruko, requesting that she allow Motoko another chance to prove herself worthy of taking over Shinmei-ryu. Tsuruko is silent for many moments as she looks at her sister with stern eyes.
"Very well. I shall give you one final opportunity to defeat me in combat. You shall have three days from this moment to defeat me by any means at your disposal. If you succeed, I shall allow you to continue your training until such time as you deem yourself prepared to assume the position as Master of Shinmei-ryu."
She pauses for a moment.
"However, if you fail you will return to Shinmei-ryu immediately to take your rightful place. In addition, this man, Urashima Keitaro, shall accompany you as your husband. He will also devote his life to learning our skills so that the two of you may provide a proper heir to ensure the future of our school."
"Sister! This is unacceptable. By what right do you demand that Urashima subject himself to our customs?"
Tsuruko tilts her head.
"Did he not act as your accomplice in the deception that he was to be your husband? He assisted you in defying the will of this school and that will not be allowed to go unpunished."
"But, sister . . ."
Keitaro interrupts her.
"I agree to your terms, Tsuruko-san."
"Don't argue, Motoko-chan. We're fortunate that she even agreed to hear us out. I promised to help you, and if it comes to that, I'll enter Shinmei-ryu."
"Even as, as my, husband? What of Naru-sempai?"
He looks at her and smiles.
"If you win, then that's something that we won't have to worry about. I know that you can do it, Motoko-chan."
Motoko turns and faces her sister.
"I accept your terms, Tsuruko-san."
"I shall inform our mother that the two of you have accepted the terms. You may begin your attempt to defeat me after that."
She bows and leaves the room. Motoko turns and bows to Keitaro.
"I swear that I shall use my utmost abilities to prevail in the coming contest, Urashima. I refuse to accept failure in this situation."
"You must really hate my guts if you're that desperate to win, Motoko-chan. On the bright side, it should be a very compelling reason for you to beat her."
He laughs and nervously places his hand on his head. Motoko shakes her head and looks at him.
"You misunderstand me, Urashima. My motivation to win is now for your sake. You are willing to risk all for me, and I respect your honor in not relenting in your promise to help me."
"But, and this is just hypothetical, what if you lose?"
She faces the door where her sister exited the room.
"Whether I win or lose, Tsuruko-san has ensured that I shall have to return to Shinmei-ryu. It may be many months, or even years, before I attain full proficiency and may resume some semblance of a normal life. My training up to this time will seem like play in comparison to what awaits me."
"But, if you lose you'll have to marry me."
Motoko hangs her head.
"Urashima, can you not tell that I am desperately trying not to think about that?"
Tsuruko kneel at the table next to her mother once more.
"It is done. I have issued a challenge that will ensure that Motoko-chan returns to take her rightful place. If she wins, she may return when she feels prepared. If she fails, she shall return immediately and Urashima-san shall accompany her."
Aoyama looks sharply at her.
"What do you mean, Tsuruko-san? Do not tell me that you were serious about punishing Keitaro-san also!"
"Mother, it was you that taught me to never utter idle threats. If Motoko-chan loses to me, Urashima shall become her husband, and he shall also learn our arts."
Aoyama lifts her glass and smiles.
"It has been many years since we have had such a charming young man grace our school."
"Be that as it may, I wonder if he can actually adapt to our strict lifestyle. It will be very hard for him."
"Indeed, he will face many challenges; both of the mind and body."
"Motoko-chan shall have to assume the responsibility his indoctrination."
"I shall assist her in teaching him a variety of techniques."
Tsuruko leans over the table.
"Mother, why do I get the intense feeling that we are talking about two completely different things?"
". . . . ."
"Mother, why are you smiling like that?"
". . . . ."
"Mother, why do you not answer?"
Tsuruko sits back and places a hand to her forehead.
"If father, may the spirits continue watching over his soul, were still here, he would be shocked at your thoughts."
Aoyama sets her glass down and bows formally to her daughter, placing her palms on the floor and touching her forehead to them.
"May the spirits provide you with a swift victory. I am eagerly anticipating Kei-kun's arrival."
"Mother, Urashima-san will be under enough stress if Motoko-chan loses. He does not need for you to add to his anxieties! And why are you already calling him Kei-kun?"
The following two days see the women confront each other in various locations. Their contests carry them from Kyoto, through Tokyo, and finally to Hinata-sou. The morning of the third and final day arrives.
Naru, having just returned from her trip to visit her family, sits with Keitaro and Motoko in the swordmaster's room.
"You agreed to do what? Have the two of you lost your minds? Motoko-chan, how could you let Keitaro get stuck in a stupid bargain like that?"
She reaches over and wraps her hands around the manager's neck, lifting him off the floor as she shakes him like a rag doll.
"Do you really want to marry Motoko-chan? Why haven't you won this idiotic contest already? Why is one of your shirts in Motoko-chan's laundry basket? Why don't you answer me, you two-timing, two-time ronin?"
Motoko holds out her hand.
"Naru-sempai! Please, you are choking Urashima! He will be unable to assist me if you injure him."
Naru tosses him into the corner.
"Fine! Just finish this silly contest. Let's ask Su-chan if she can make something to help you. Kitsune, Shinobu-chan, Sara and Otohime-san will help too. If they know what's good for them."
Naru turns and looks at the door.
"Do all of you understand?"
The door slides open and the other girls tumble into the room. Kitsune sits up and rubs her head.
"Dang! A girl can't do any good snooping around here anymore. Ya'll is getting too protective of Keitaro-san if you ask me."
Su jumps over and lands on Motoko's shoulders.
"Ya is in luck! I gots this great invention that should helps ya beat your sister! I has to admit, I've outdones myself with this one!"
Shinobu crawls to the corner and gently cradles Keitaro's head in her lap.
"Aaauuuuu! Sempai is out cold again!"
Mutsumi places the fingers of her right hand to her lips and smiles.
"Oh my! Maehara-san, aren't you getting too old to still use that cute trick to get Kei-kun all to yourself? I wish that I could do that too!"
Kitsune crosses her arms and stares at the resident cook.
"Ya know, I think the Melon-girl has something there. Shinobu, ya'll is turning into a little sneak, aren't you?"
"Aaauuuuu! They're on to me!"
Naru walks over to the door and points at Kitsune.
"Let's try talking some sense into Tsuruko-san. This farce is becoming old really quick."
Su grabs Sara and Shinobu and heads for her lab.
"I'm gonna needs some help hauling my new device downstairs. I was outta tin cans so I had to use iron pipes for the transmuductionary channels, so it's a little on the heavy-set side!"
Motoko watches them leave and sighs. She looks over at Mutsumi, who is looking back at her. After a few minutes, Motoko clears her throat.
"Is there something that I can do for you, Otohime-san?"
Mutsumi tilts her head.
"Weren't you going to serve watermelons?"
The swordmaster shakes her head.
"Uh, no. I was not planning to serve any melon this morning."
"Oh my! Then you wouldn't mind if I serve some for you and Kei-kun!"
She reaches down next to her and lifts a tray with watermelon, salt, and a carving knife. Motoko shakes her head again.
"Where does she pull that stuff from?"
A half hour later, after breakfast, the residents of Hinata-sou gather behind the inn for Motoko's final confrontation with Tsuruko. A bright, red and white colored panel sits as a backdrop, complete with a small alter with two simple seats and offerings arranged upon a table. Naru shakes her head and addresses Tsuruko.
"Why does this look less like a preparation for a duel and more like a setting for a wedding?"
Tsuruko places a hand to her cheek.
"This is in preparation for them to exchange their vows if Motoko-chan fails to defeat me, of course."
Naru looks over her shoulder and sees that Shinobu, Su, Sara, Kitsune and Mutsumi are kneeling in an area marked as reserved for guests. Naru clenches her fist and yells at them.
"What are all of you doing over there?"
Kitsune holds up a glass of sake.
"Don't ya'll sweat the details, Naru."
Shinobu places her hands on her knees.
"Aaauuuuu! Will Motoko-sempai really marry Sempai if she loses?"
From around the far left end of the panel, Motoko and Keitaro walk into view.
"Forgive me, sister, I was delayed!"
Tsuruko turns to face her.
"It is not like you to keep me waiting, Mo . . . What in the world are you wearing?"
Motoko, wearing the maid outfit that she borrowed from Haruka's collection, stands proudly in the bright sunlight. She blushes slightly and turns to Keitaro.
"Do you truly believe that this outfit will assist me in defeating my sister? I admit that it allows greater freedom of movement than my school uniform. However, it is slightly embarrassing to consider it battle clothing."
Keitaro adjusts his backpack and watches Tsuruko grimly.
"We'll need to use every trick we can think of to beat her. Also, that clothes pole will give you extra range over her sword."
Motoko shakes her head and thinks to herself.
(You are indeed completely clueless in the arts of combat, Urashima.)
Tsuruko smiles as she watches her sister's discomfort.
(The spirit has truly completely lost itself in Motoko-chan. Never would I have dreamed that it would intentionally allow itself to fall into such a distasteful state. This is well.)
"Motoko-chan, are you prepared to fall to my blade. Or would you rather yield now?"
"It shall be you that meets defeat this day, my elder sister. En garde!"
The two women launch themselves towards the center of the improvised arena. At the last moment, Motoko jams the pole firmly into the earth and, using it to alter her momentum, swings around it in a counterclockwise spin, driving herself feet first towards her sister. Tsuruko, not suspecting such an advanced maneuver, barely manages to raise her arms in defense. As she is driven backwards, she nimbly plants a foot against a protruding rock and pushes off; lancing towards Motoko and raising her sword.
"Shinmei-ryu no Raimeiken! God's Cry Attack of The Thundering Blade!"
Motoko raises her pole to fend off the bolt of chi, but it is torn from her hands by the impact. She flips over backwards to place some distance between them and then extends her arms. Placing the tips of her thumbs together, she points her palms at Tsuruko and launches her retaliatory strike.
"Shinmei-ryu no Zankusho! God's Cry Attack of The Slashing Wind!"
A concentrated blast of chi forms and hurls from her palms. Tsuruko sweeps her blade upwards and sends the split halves of the projectile harmlessly to the sides. Her eyes widen as she spots Motoko's second attack already knifing towards her.
"Shinmei-ryu no Fujinranbu! God's Cry Attack of The Dancing Wind!"
Tsuruko ducks, dodges and weaves to avoid the multiple projectiles as they slash through the air around her. As she spins and cartwheels to the left, she contemplates Motoko's resolve.
(Motoko-chan is not holding anything back this time. However, she risks draining her chi if she continues without a weapon to focus upon.)
She drops and rolls, grabbing the clothes pole as she passes over it. Flipping gracefully to her feet, she throws it like a javelin.
Motoko slaps her hands together, stopping the pole inches from striking her. She slides backwards ten meters from the force of catching it. Sweat drips from her temples as she adjusts her grip on the pole.
(I almost failed to stop that in time. My sister is not going lightly. I must hazard drastic stratagems if I am to prevail.)
Holding the pole in her right hand, she spins it over her head. She chants quickly and four blasts roar outwards almost as a single strike.
"Shinmei-ryu no Jakuzankusen! God's Cry Attack of The Sword of Wind! Shinmei-ryu no Zankusen! God's Cry Attack of The Air Slashing Sword! Shinmei-ryu no Zankusen Kai! God's Cry Attack of The Air Slashing Sword Ultimate Strike! Shinmei-ryu no Zankosen! God's Cry Attack of The Light Slashing Blade!"
Tsuruko plants her feet and raises her sword in front of her, She chants silently, causing the shaft to glow with chi. The blasts strike the energized blade and flow around it, though the sleeves of her gi shred as portions of the force slip past her defense. She leaps high into the sky, erupting from the smoke like a rocket.
"Shinmei-ryu no Hyakka Ryuran! God's Cry Attack of The Hundred Blossoms Slash!"
Motoko, having dropped to one knee from the exertion of her last attack, looks up with wide eyes as the pink and lavender petals of chi arrow towards her.
Su watches Keitaro, and upon seeing him signal her, presses the button on a remote control. From behind the alter, the walls part and her device rumbles into life. Held in its scabbard at the heart of the mechanism, the Hina Sword begins to glow. Dark wisps of eldritch energy mix with flashes of blue plasma, forming an iridescent sphere which quickly expands. Su scratches her head as the sphere radiates outwards and settles at a diameter of a few hundred meters.
"That aint right. I wonders what I did wrong. It shoulda projected a shield around Motoko. I knew it wasn't too smarts of me to use ginger ale instead of kerosene to fuel the plasma reactor!"
Keitaro, seeing the failure of Su's invention, turns back to the arena as Motoko falls under the onslaught of Tsuruko's attack.
Naru shakes her fist in Keitaro's direction and then runs over to Su's device.
"Why did he let Motoko-chan use that stupid pole when a perfectly good sword was over here?"
Tsuruko lands on the ground and looks over as Naru grasps the hilt of the Hina Sword.
(The Hina Sword! But how? I buried it deep within the caverns beneath Hinata-sou myself after the spirit became Motoko-chan once more!)
"Narusegawa-san! You must not touch that! It is far too dangerous!"
As Naru pulls the blade from its scabbard the sphere ripples, blurring the horizon in all directions. Dark tendrils of power flow from the sword and up her arm. Laughing hysterically, she bounds over the alter and scampers towards the inn.
"This is fantastic! I feel so powerful!"
Tsuruko turns to her sister.
"Motoko-chan, we must hurry and rescue Narusegawa-san. She must be separated from that sword!"
Keitaro, kneeling next to Motoko, looks up at Tsuruko.
Tsuruko kneels down and briefly places a hand over Motoko's head and then moves it over her bosom. The young woman stirs and opens her eyes and her attention is instantly drawn to the pulsing sphere surrounding the hill.
"Spirits! What is this manifestation?"
Tsuruko grasps her hand and pulls her to her feet.
"It is the Hina Sword. We must work together to re-seal its power. Narusegawa-san released it when she pulled it from its scabbard."
Motoko stares at her sister.
"What is this Hina Sword?"
Tsuruko hesitates, remembering that none of them retain any memories of what had happened before.
(Of course, Motoko-chan does not remember it. She destroyed all of her previous memories as that spirit-demon. Yet, she is the key to stopping it, since Keitaro bequeathed it to her in their final battle. She is the master of the Hina Sword now and may be the only one that can force the power back into containment.)
"I cannot explain it, for there is no time. Suffice to say that the power of that sword is in some way attuned to your chi. We have to act quickly or Narusegawa-san will be consumed by it."
Motoko looks around.
"Where is Naru-sempai?"
Near the main building of the inn complex, a geyser of steaming water erupts, the droplets sparkling in the sky as it gracefully expands. Keitaro starts running towards the inn.
"She's in the hot spring! Narusegawa!"
Tsuruko rushes up behind the manager and smashes the butt of her sword against the back of his head. He falls to the ground and tumbles a few time before coming to rest on his back. Motoko leaps over and grabs her sister's wrists, rage strengthening her grip like steel bands.
"By the spirits! Why have you struck Keitaro down? Have you gone insane, Tsuruko-san?"
"He must not be allowed to interact with the power of the sword. The peril to you would be too great! The sword will not tolerate two masters!"
"What are you talking about? Your words do not make any sense!"
"Motoko-chan, I will explain it as much as I can later. For now, we must stop Narusegawa-san. If you cherish them both, you must trust me now and do as I say!"
She looks briefly at Keitaro.
"What must we do?"
Tsuruko runs towards the inn with Motoko at her side, detouring slightly to pull the scabbard of the Hina Sword from Su's invention.
"I shall attempt to force Narusegawa-san to release her grip on the sword. If I am successful, you must use your ultimate technique to seal the power away. Our timing must be precise if we are to spare her from serious harm."
"I shall do as you say."
As they disappear around the end of the red and white panel, Kitsune, Shinobu, Su, Sara and Mutsumi peek out from behind the alter."
"Aaauuuuu! What is happening?"
Kitsune stands up, hugging her sake bottle protectively against her breasts.
"I'm not sure. It looks like they've gone after Naru. I don't know about ya'll, but I'm gonna check on Keitaro-san!"
Shinobu follows her. Mutsumi and Sara stand next to Su as the young inventor studies her device. Sara pokes at it with a long stick.
"This thing has gone all crazy."
Su pulls out her notes and studies them for a moment.
"Hey, Melon-lady, you're pretty smarts. What's the atomic weight of palladium?"
"Oh my, that is easy. It's 106.42. Why do you ask?"
"Dang! I wrotes 1064.2 instead of 106.42! My decimal place is off! That's why it didn't make a shield around Motoko! It's a hundred times bigger than it shoulda been! This is so cool! Aint I a genius?"
Mutsumi pats Sara on the head.
"Oh my. If we move the decimal point in your age, maybe you would be taller!"
Sara crosses her arms and puffs out her cheeks,
"It isn't fair! How can you be so tall with all that weight on your chest dragging you down?"
Motoko and Tsuruko leap over the bamboo fence surrounding the hot spring and land crouched and prepared to strike. Naru, floating above the water and spinning in circles while brandishing the Hina Sword, uses the eldritch energy to sculpt the geyser. As the two women from Shinmei-ryu watch, Keitaro's likeness appears in the watery mists. Naru raises her arms to the image.
A moment later, her face blushes bright red. Pulling her right arm back and balling her hand into a fist, she strikes the liquid copy of the manager.
"What are you doing in the hot spring? Haven't I told you never to come out here when women are using it?"
Sweat drips from Tsuruko's temple and Motoko shakes her head. The geyser collapses and Naru leaps from one rock to another.
"Keitaro, where did you go? Come out, come out where ever you are!"
Motoko grips her clothes pole tightly.
"She is clearly losing it. Sister, I am ready, but please use caution, I do not wish to injure Naru-sempai."
Tsuruko nods her head and dashes across the surface of the water. She reaches the other side, raises her sword, and fires her attack as Naru leaps over the hot spring.
"Shinmei-ryu no Zankosen! God's Cry Attack of The Light Slashing Blade!"
The blast strikes Naru's left hand, dislodging the Hina Sword. As it tumbles in the air next to her friend, Motoko sees her opening and unleashes her chi.
"Shinmei-ryu no Messatsu Zanku Zanmasen! God's Cry Attack of The Demon Slashing Wind!"
The brilliant blue bolt hurls upwards and passes through Naru's body, drawing the dark tendrils from her. Her eyes close as she arches over backwards and falls into the water. The Hina Sword clatters to the rocks and Tsuruko stands over it defensively holding the scabbard.
"Motoko-chan! You must claim this blade and seal its power!"
The swordmaster jumps over the hot spring. In the middle of her leap, Naru breaks the surface and grabs her foot. Motoko's momentum carries them to the edge of the pool, inches from the sword. Using the pole, she reaches out and drags the blade within her reach. Tsuruko tosses the scabbard to her and she catches it with her free hand. Naru desperately claws her way towards it using Motoko's gi.
Releasing the pole, Motoko grasps the hilt of the Hina Sword in her right hand. Bringing the tip of the blade to the scabbard, she slides it in. As it makes a finally click into place, Naru lunges and touches the hilt with her outstretched fingers. Crouching, Motoko pushes off the ground and leaps into the air. Naru falls away and splashes back into the water as the swordmaster holds the weapon above her head. Floating in the sky, she closes her eyes and recites the ancient Rights of Passage of Shinmei-ryu.
"I am Swordmaster Aoyama Motoko, and by the power and right of Shinmei-ryu I claim this sword as mine! Evil beware, for justice and light shall forever prevail! By the spirits and with my life, I thus swear this as my ultimate truth!"
A blinding blast of power radiates from her body as she rightfully claims the sword as her own. The sphere wavers and ruptures as the chi pierces it with its pure light. Motoko gently alights on the ground, her hair falling gracefully over her shoulders as she reins in her power. Naru, flopping onto the edge of the pool, sighs and spits some water out of her mouth. Tsuruko claps her hands and approaches her sister.
"Very well done, Motoko-chan. I am very proud of you. You have saved your friends and ended the threat of the Hina Sword. Are you prepared to return to Shinmei-ryu with me?"
Motoko stares at her.
"Wh-what are you saying?"
"You failed to win a victory against me. You fell in our final confrontation and your three days are at an end."
Keitaro, gently supported by Kitsune and Mutsumi, and followed by the other residents, staggers around the corner and walks towards the women of Shinmei-ryu.
"Why did you hit me on the head, Tsuruko-san? Motoko-chan, are you and Narusegawa okay?"
Tsuruko glances at the manager and then back to her sister.
"It appears that Keitaro-san recovers quite quickly. That will serve him well. After he becomes your husband it will be your responsibility to guide his training in the Arts."
Motoko falls to her knees.
"My, my h-h-husband?"
Keitaro hangs his head and whispers.
"I just knew my big mouth would get me into trouble some day."
Naru stands up and wraps her arms around Motoko's neck.
"Congratulations, Motoko! Please take good care of Keitaro!"
She turns and skips over to the manager. Grabbing his cheeks, she kisses him. After a few moments, she pulls away and smiles at him.
"Don't be surprised, Keitaro. Do you actually believe that I thought the two of you could beat Tsuruko-san? You can't even walk down the hallway without pulling Shinobu's skirt down."
"Y-you aren't angry, Narusegawa?"
She waves at Shinobu and skips towards the door.
"Of course not! Shinobu, Let's make some food for the party!"
With her back to the others, Naru rubs her hands together and smiles gleefully as her eyes take on a dark purple hue.
(This is even better! It'll be more fun to keep stealing Keitaro away from Motoko! Naru is such a bad girl!)
At that moment, Haruka runs out of the changing room door.
"What in the heck happened? Why are we at Shinmei-ryu?"
Keitaro looks at his aunt.
"What are you talking about? This is Hinata-sou Haruka-san!"
"Oh yeah? All of you had better follow me."
They quickly follow her through the inn and out of the front door. Haruka stops at the top of the stone steps and points downward.
"What do you call that?"
Keitaro peers down the steps.
"That's your tea shop, Haruka-san."
She grabs his head and forces his gaze past the bottom of the hill.
"Not there! Over there!"
Keitaro's mouth drops open. Past the tea shop, instead of the stores and buildings of Hinata City, the grounds of Shinmei-ryu spread out before them. Instantly, everyone spins around and looks at Su. The young woman from Molmol blinks at Keitaro.
End of Chapter One.